Statement by Town Manager Ed Roberge

Another first for Block Island

Thu, 03/14/2019 - 5:45pm

After years of planning and developing a high-speed broadband fiber network, the Town’s Community Anchor Institution (CAI) Broadband Fiber Optic Network is here.

Over the past several weeks, project activities have been highly visible on Block Island as line crews from Sertex, LLC could be seen by day and night installing and securing fiber cables to utility poles and pulling service cable into the B.I. Medical Center, B.I. School, Island Free Library, the Public Safety Complex and Town Hall. At the same time, crews from OSHEAN and National Grid were busy on the mainland securing connections from the subsea fiber network in Narragansett and North Kingstown. Excitement peaked on March 2nd when the Town’s telecommunication building that will house the broadband network arrived and was placed on the Public Safety Complex site.

The Town’s project partners began installing site equipment at the CAI’s on March 7 and on March 8th, the two fiber rings, one for the Medical Center, School and Library and the other for Public Safety and Town Hall, were successfully lit and tested. On an early March 11 Monday morning, the Block Island School was cut over to the new fiber network, followed by the Medical Center, Island Free Library, Town Hall, and the Public Safety facility. Reaction to the new broadband service was immediate, as this is a game-changer that will have benefits for the entire community.

The Town of New Shoreham has accomplished a historic achievement, bringing in Rhode Island’s first municipally-owned broadband fiber network. The project culminates years of complex and challenging efforts involving and coordinated amongst many parties, including Town Hall staff and consultants, New Shoreham Broadband Committee, Town Council, HealthConnect Networks, Sertex LLC, OSHEAN, Inc., United Concrete Products, Inc., North American Crane & Rigging LLC, Interstate Navigation Company, Inc., Block Island Power Company, Tyler Electrical Services, Inc., R.I. Department of Transportation, National Grid, Verizon and Cox Communications. Special recognition goes out to Amy Land, the Town’s Finance Director, Michele Spero, the Town’s IT Director, and Sam Bird, Facilities Manager. Without their determined effort and tireless dedication to this project, it could not have happened.

The Town is also committed to ensuring the successful transition of the CAI network from the construction and implementation phase into the management and maintenance phase. This is only the beginning as we now turn our focus to a community-wide broadband network.